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Name: a w chen
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999 


Question:
Fifth grader wants to know why acids and bases when mixed together will explode?



Replies:
If they are in water (which acids and bases usually are) they won't explode. When acid and base are mixed, they generate heat but I don't know of any that will explode. If you want to give a specific example, I may be able to elaborate...

-Joe Schultz


In most spontaneous chemical reactions some amount of heat is produced. Another way of saying this is: Reactions occur because the products are a lower energy (more stable) than the reactants. Then extra energy is left over in the form of heat in the reaction system. For acids and bases the products are water and solvated salts. These products are particularly stable (low energy) and so a lot of heat it (is) released to the solvent -- water. If the water reaches 100 degrees Celsius it will boil -- sometimes violently -- making it appear to have exploded.

To avoid this problem we usually try to work with dilute acids and bases.

Remember, when diluting strong acids or bases always add the acid (or base) to water, not the water to the acid or base. Add it slowly and with stirring.

Greg



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